A Blog To Justify The GoDaddy Renewal Fee

We’re well over halfway through 2017 and let’s face it, my commitment to doing a monthly blog has really disappeared hasn’t it? If my life was my employee I’d be calling them in for a quarterly review and giving them the whole “We have to make some strict budget cuts and I’m afraid we can’t keep you on so there will be no further work for you after this week” speech. I’ve hired my life on a zero hour contract apparently, the hypocrite I am. 

It’s not really working out as planned, is it? 

I have a million and one excuses to why I haven’t written a single word since February but let’s be honest, who’s arsed? Cards on the table, the only reason I’m forcing myself to write this all right now I because I just renewed this site on GoDaddy and then thought “What’s the point? You don’t even use it anymore!” so here I am; trying to justify some on the 60 quid I shelled out to host this mediocre blog. 

http://shandycreative.com/MainNav/PRODUCTS/PrescriptionProducts/GeorgiaCompliantRxPads/tabid/4840/Default.aspx What I Wrote

I’ll be honest, I can’t remember where half my work is but here’s what I can recall off the top of my head at midnight. I will add the rest* in the next few days.

Reflections On International Women’s Day: Women In Tech

Why Rachel Should Have Stayed On The Plane

How To: Decorate Your Living Room

The Real Shit That Happens In Your Twenties 

Clueless: The 2017 Scouse Edition

The 5 Stages of Shopping

The People You Meet On St Patrick’s Day

*I mean, I wouldn’t hold your breath – it took me months just to write this blog so maybe expect the updated links in the next year or so.

go site What I’ve Been Listening To

I have listened to AIBU: Am I Being Unreasonable? hosted by ME and Ellie Q.

Yep, I’ve actually managed to start a podcast about one of my passions in life; Mumsnet. I’m going to ask our wonderful producer, Tabs just how I embed a fancy link on here etc but for now you can listen to it HERE and follow us on Twitter and Instagram on @AIBUpod

See also: “February Feels”

The Illamasqua Anti-Fascism Pledge

Just before Christmas I caught up with a representative from Illamasqua to discuss their upcoming make up collections. I woke up on the morning of the meeting ridiculously hungover; seriously regretting that last Red Stripe (and everything else I’d consumed the night before). I shoved an Eat 4 Less baguette down my gob, downed so much Fanta I’ve probably given myself diabetes and prayed that I would be home within half an hour; back in bed with a burrito. Within 10 minutes of sitting down and getting a sneak preview of all the latest pigments, palettes and powders my hangover woes disappeared – I was in heaven. I’m not the most particularly make up obsessed girl (Read: I still have a tide line when I apply foundation and I’ve only recently discovered highlighter) but I am all about socially conscious brands. I learned how Illamasqua pride themselves on having a stance against animal testing and how they strive to be inclusive of all ethnicities and skin colours. Yesterday they released a statement which didn’t sugar coat how they felt about Trump supporters buying their products and I felt it was the perfect time to finally get round to writing about them………

After the shit storm that was 2016, it’s pretty hard to avoid being political these days. Even your ex boyfriend, who once thought Hugh Grant was Prime Minister, is over on Facebook; letting everyone know that he thinks Donald Trump is a bit of a dickhead. Celebrities haven’t been shy to speak out and share their beliefs either; Gary Lineker is more or less the leader of the opposition in the U.K, Michael Sheen has swapped acting for activism and Lily Allen is doing God’s work on Twitter; dealing with sexist, racist misogynist trolls daily for merely daring to call out fascism.

But brands and businesses? They’ve been a little quieter. Sure, a few have made a stand or a statement but the majority are adopting the ‘never discuss politics at a dinner party’ strategy in order to protect their profits. After all, Trump supporters are ridiculously extra when you offend their Fash Daddy.

So yesterday when Illamasqua released a statement detailing their Anti-Fascism Pledge it made for a refreshing break from reading about the latest atrocities the Alt-Right* are up to.

*A polite term for Nazis

Illamasqua believe in the freedom of expression, equality and diversity. That’s why we are horrified by President Trump’s actions to date. We refuse to remain silent while extreme right-wing populism gains momentum… wherever it is happening.

As such, we will never knowingly sell our products to people who support President Trump’s values. To be part of our community, and to buy our products, you must first pledge to Human Fundamentalism values:

  • Never discriminate against race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
  • Accept responsibility on challenging social and climate issues
  • Speak for those who cannot speak up for themselves
  • Uphold the principles of the S.O.P.H.I.E. charity to stamp out prejudice, intolerance and hatred.

We’re realistic. We know we can’t stop anyone buying our products. But we also know that no matter how hard some people work to make themselves beautiful on the outside, make-up can never hide the ugliness inside. So please, if you don’t agree with the above DON’T BUY US.

Prejudice, sexism and racism should never be tolerated. Whether you’re a brand or an individual join us and, together, we can be the change we want to see.

PEACE,

JULIAN KYNASTON, ILLAMASQUA FOUNDER.

The fashion and beauty industry gets a bad rep at times because of course they do, it’s mainly women who enjoy make up so naturally anything a female enjoys will be passed off as trivial and unimportant. Yet here we are in 2017, and along with Teen Vogue being the main major publication to pull Trump up on his bullshit, it’s a beauty brand that’s risking their profits and putting their influence to good use to fight fascism.

Some may be cynical and claim Illamasqua’s pledge is all for publicity and to generate more sales and, while I don’t believe that to be true, who actually cares if that’s what it is? If brands and businesses want to start marketing their goods by highlighting dangerous politics and directing us towards good causes while they’re at it, I’m all for it. I’d rather be flogged a lipstick by a company not standing by while a repulsive bigot tries to implement disgusting policies like a Muslim Ban rather than a business that chucks a few hundred grand at a Kardashian so they can feature on their Instagram page.

For those cynics who still aren’t convinced, Illamasqua are donating 100% of ALL sales proceeds of Lip Lure in Nebulus to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation to help the charity continue it’s work in challenging prejudice and intolerance.

If you needed an excuse to add to your make up collection, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. Head down to Illamasqua and be safe in the knowledge that when you’re applying your eyeliner your wings won’t be Alt-Right.

Join Illamasqua’s Anti-Fascism Pledge HERE

See also: How to Not Fund a Tory Business

 

February Feels

It’s 1.38am. I’m chain-smoking a ten deck that I bought instead of food. I have a mountain of work I need to get through. I haven’t slept properly in weeks. My skin is a show yet I’ve still not motivated myself to wash my face. I have around 150 emails I need to reply to. I haven’t rung my mum back properly in days. My dinner today was some out of date pine nuts and tea was a handful of cereal. My sleeping pills expired in 2014. I haven’t even opened the mountain of mail I finally collected from my post box earlier.

So naturally rather than doing any basic life admin tasks that will take minutes to do, I’m writing this. 

What I Wrote

The Feel Good February 28 Day Challenge Do as I say, not as I do etc etc.

Dealing With Valentine’s Day This is a bit dated already but read and get a head start on next year’s preparations?

Celeb Eyebrows: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly I wrote this a while ago but while wallowing in self-pity I caught a glimpse of my eyebrows and realised how lucky I am to have amazing brows at least. They’re all down to The Brow Doctors and if you live within travelling distance of Liverpool and not going to them for all your eyebrow needs, you’re honestly playing a mug’s game.

What I Did

Begged For Money Online Yep, just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom you learn that there is always somewhere lower to go. I really didn’t think anyone but my mother would donate* but it turns out that the internet is full of porn, videos of cats, shitty right-wing YouTube stars and, loads of lovely people on Instagram. I started the day moaning about a broken laptop and phone but ended it paying a bill via an online tip jar, slightly drunk and waxing lyrical about ‘the kindness of strangers’ like a drunk aunt after a few at a family party.

I’m eternally grateful to anyone who ‘bought me a coffee’ and it really did make a massive difference to my week.

*turns out my own mother didn’t even tip me. If you are reading this Gail, here is the link to my Ko-Fi page – cough up. 

⚠️ A very self indulgent 'poor little me' X Factor style rant lies ahead, you have been warned ⚠️ I've set up a Ko-Fi page (cringe) & put the link in my bio if you want to 'buy me a coffee'. The idea of Ko-Fi if you don't know it like an online tip jar for people who put content online for free (like naff Instagram memes 🌚) & to help out freelancers. I wasn't going to do one because 1) I don't do enough. I haven't blogged properly yet & I don't even post enough on here these days & 2) It's a bit humiliating. However, I see middle class journalists with salaries & steady income setting up Patreons & this morning I woke up, to a broken laptop & a phone on it's arse, & thought 'Fuck it, I'm having a go.' Full disclosure: I hate coffee so it you do 'buy me one' I will be using it to go towards my rent instead. If you've ever laughed at my stuff & have a quid to spare, id be forever grateful. If you've ever nicked one of my memes & got thousands of likes more than I got then you can deffo buy me a coffee – with extra cream. Okay I'm gonna stop typing cause I'm cringing to death – there are more details on my bio page.

A post shared by ZoeYak (@zoeyak) on

What I’ve Been Watching

go to site T2: Trainspotting Well, I watched all of it bar the first 15 minutes as while the film was starting I was at the bar queuing for drinks as we had managed to drink all our ale before the trailers even finished. I want to say this is the first time something like this has happened but I don’t want to lie.

Verdict? I dunno. As a stand-alone film I enjoyed it but it really tainted the original for me. I found the demise of the characters quite sad to watch (yeah, I know as a bunch of 20 something heroin addicts in the first film they weren’t exactly smashing life but you know what I mean) and as insignificant as it sounds, I really noticed the absence of a narration.

When Renton delivered a rebooted 2017 version of his Choose Life speech, I was pretty glad I’d got that extra drink as I was cringing pretty hard watching and can’t imagine what it would have been like to endure it sober.

And that’s my in-depth, articulate review. I expect Empire Magazine will be in contact to offer me a job as a film critic any day now.

What I’ve Been Reading

How Memes Taught Millennials To Talk About Mental Health

14 Words For Sadness & Depression That Don’t Exist In English I thought I’d bring a little culture to the table for when I’m moaning about how sad I am.

I Watched Fifty Shades Darker So You Don’t Have To

Woman Tries To Enjoy Night Out Even Though Her Instagram Post Is Fucking Tanking I like to revisit this one now and again. Even just the headline is hilarious.

This is This Week That Was #15 I get a shout out in this blog so I’m being a huge narcissist and insisting you all go and read the lovely words Oh Bella had to say about this blog and worship me. If you don’t feel like worshipping me, you can check out her Instagram page instead which is full of pictures that make all my efforts look like I’ve taken them using a broken Sky remote and captions that are more in-depth and informative than anything you’ll find on here. I have no idea why I’ve had to put myself down to big someone else up but it’s the early hours of the morning and self loathing is my thing – let me live.

And finally…..

I have honestly read this text message exchange nearly every single day and it still cracks me up each time:

 

 

10 Things NOT to Say to Someone With Acne

There’s never really a good age to be dealing with spots, but it always seems a bit crueler to be having to pop pimples just as you’re beginning to look at how to keep the wrinkles at bay.

I started dealing with the devil that is adult acne in my early twenties and naturally, as I do with anything that is a mild inconvenience to me in life, I moan about it constantly then write a fluffy piece for The Metro about my woes which you can read here – 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone With Acne  

However, now a few years on, my skin issues have been cured, mainly thanks to some strong antibiotics and maxing out my credit card on skincare products. While my face was free from spots, I was left with some pretty gross scarring which gave me something new to moan about constantly. Thankfully, I found 53 Aesthetics and their Dermaroller Treatment…..

What the hell is a Dermaroller Treatment?

A couple of months ago, through work, I was sent to review a Dermaroller treatment as part of a skin care feature. As someone who’s been moaning about their scars and blemishes for months, you’d think I’d have been ecstatic to get such a perk through work but, true to brand, I was a bit of a miserable emo about it all. You see, I’d actually had a go with a DermaPen a couple of years before, with another salon, and left disappointed; it hurt, I had a red face for hours, it made absolutely no difference and worse of all, it cost a bloody fortune.

However, I shouldn’t have tarred every beauty salon with the same DermaPen – Jenny at 53 Aesthetics gave me such a wonderful experience I left after my first treatment and booked in for two more to finally get flawless skin. Within a few hours I already noticed my most problematic area on my cheeks had improved and over the next couple of days, I saw a vast difference with how much easier it was applying my makeup of a morning. Whereas I used to have to pile on the concealer and heavy foundation, I was able to leave the house with just a bit of BB cream on without scaring anyone too much. After a couple more sessions over the course of a few months, I finally had clear skin with no redness or scars and one less thing to whine about in life.

So what the hell is a Dermaroller treatment? Well firstly, and most importantly, my all time favourite girl Lindsay Lohan is a fan which is all I needed to know but I appreciate that not everyone is a LiLo stan so might need more information before they commit to a session.

The Dermaroller facial is the latest invention to promise you a more flawless complexion; reducing the appearance of scars, evening skin tone, boosting collagen and plumping the skin. A micro-needling system that has 12 microscopic needles, when the tips make contact with the skin, the needles work to make tiny punctures which result in the creation of healthy new collagen. Sounds scary but it’s not. Full disclosure, I’m a bit of a weirdo who enjoys having her eyebrows waxed so maybe it could be painful but for me, at worst it was just slightly uncomfortable at times. You get an odd sensation that makes you feel like you’re about to sneeze now and again and the idea of needles being run across your face can be a bit daunting but Jenny makes you feel relaxed and calm and puts any concerns you may have at ease.

What actually happens?

The whole process took around an hour. Starting with Jenny cleansing and preparing my skin with what felt like a relaxing mini facial in itself, my face was then ready for the pen. I opted for the serum that reduces acne scarring but you can choose from others which include anti ageing or a mixture of the choices. Your face is numbed prior to the Dermapen coming in contact with your skin to minimise any discomfort and you go three ‘rounds’; with a break in between each one to give your face chance to recover.

Immediately after the procedure, my face was a little red, like I had done a workout at the gym, but there was nothing too dramatic. Within a few hours, it had completely died down so there’s no chance of resembling Sam from Sex and the City after she had her peel. Jenny advised me to keep my skin away from water and the sun for as long as possible so to get the best results from the treatment; allowing my face to keep repairing without any interference. Luckily I live in England where sun only makes a guest appearance now and again and I was more than happy to spend the day in my flat avoiding showering.

Where is best to go?

Well, spoiler alert, I think you can guess that I’m going to recommend Jenny at 53 Aesthetics rather than the first place that left me out-of-pocket and with a face that looked like a spotty strawberry.

It’s not just the appearance of scars that it has improved, my face also feels fresher, tighter and younger. And all without having to drink lots of water and take my makeup off before bed. In your face, mum.

Jenny is based at Prado in Liverpool One. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

January is a Trial Month Anyway

What the hell is this? Have I actually got my monthly review up on time and not my usual policy of publishing it about 7 weeks late and all the information in it being useless? Wow, the end of the world must really be on its way.

I’m normally a big fan of January (It’s Okay To Be Positive: Boycott The January Blues) but I’ve just not been feeling it this year. Maybe it’s because I started the year by gate crashing my new neighbour’s flat party when we came home from our night out after bulk buying bottles of poppers from the 24 hour offy by mine. Why did we do that? I have no idea but I do know that I did some intense self loathing in my pit on the first day of 2017.

Then I got a bug that saw me only see my bathroom or my bed for well over a week and develop cabin fever. I lost 7 pounds though so I guess I shouldn’t moan.

So January, you’ve been a bit meh to be honest. But, as my wise friend pointed out, you’re nothing more than a trial month. Here’s to February.

If only we could have cancelled our direct debit for 2016 eh?

What I Wrote

Clueless: The 2017 Scouse Edition

The 6 Pillars of Getting Your Life Together in 2017

The Feel Good February 28 Day Challenge

What I Did

Self loathed, moaned that I had no money, threw up (lots) and felt very sorry for myself.

I did actually venture out of the house to go to an Anti Trump protest at St George’s Hall the other day but that really involves all the above too, doesn’t it?

What I Got

Well now I feel a bit silly about all my self-indulgent whining about the last few weeks as I’ve actually been very #BLESSED and received a heap of cool freebies through work. I’m writing an article about how to make your rented flat a home (Have I ever mentioned/moaned about the fact I’m part of Generation Rent?) and have been sent fancy light fixtures, designer cushions, a lamp that is worth more than my monthly rent but of course, true to brand, the thing that has impressed me the most is this table that costs less than a tenner. What can I say? I really don’t have expensive taste (which is lucky as I’m broke).

Look how perfect it is though? You should all run to Home & Bargain and get one ASAP.

What I’ve Been Watching

The Alt Right Getting Punched to Music  Nazi’s getting punched is a very good thing in my opinion. I can’t believe I have to state this but there are some people out there who seem to think that Hitler was defeated by a good old-fashioned debate and a war of words.

Vogue’s 73 Questions I didn’t think it was possible for me to fall in love with Emma Stone and Vicky Beckham even more than I already did but stumbling across this little series helped me adore them even more. It also made me even more irritated by Taylor Swift. Swings and roundabouts.

What Books I’ve Been Reading

I’ve accidentally started a new ritual where I take a book to read in my therapy waiting room before my appointment and they’re always depressing and fitting.

So Sad Today This book really made me Feel So Many Things so I might write a review type thing about it one day soon so you’ll have to accept a rain check off me for now if you want my opinions on this collection of (very) personal essays.

Grief Is the Thing With FeatherLast year, I randomly felt like I *had* to try to like Lena Dunham. So many people told me I’d ‘just love Girls’, and every other article online was about her being a feminist icon, but I just couldn’t warm to her. So rather than not worry about something so irrelevant, I tried to force myself to become a fan and I went out and bought her book hoping to be converted. Fast forward to the other week and I’m in Waterstones exchanging her memoir that I couldn’t even get halfway through for Grief Is the Thing With Feathers. I’ve not quite finished it yet but so far it’s such a beautiful, poetic unique read and is the best exchange I ever done. Sorry Lena, I did try.

What I’ve Been Listening Too 

The All Killa, No Filla Podcast On Christmas Day, as I led listening to All Killa, No Filla’s Fred & Rose West special, my mum walked in during a particularly gruesome bit and said, in her broad Lancashire accent “Dya not think you’ve got enough going on in yer head without listening to shit like that?”

Poor Gail, I really am hard work.

What Articles I’ve Been Reading

Ewan McGregor: What If I’m Not Scottish Enough Anymore?

I Feel Fucking Sick

Doomsday Prep For The Super rich 

Sick Man Deemed Fit To Work Dies & Collapses At The Job Centre Minutes Later

As Gaslighter In Chief Takes Office, Remember You Are Not Going Mad

Khloe Kardashian Does Not Care About Your Weight Loss Journey

Melania Trump Doesn’t Deserve Your Sympathy

Roxanne Gay Pulled Her Book to Protest Milo

There’s a Great Big Ass in the Glass Ceiling – How Being Overweight Affected My Career (I originally read this a couple of years back but rediscovered it recently and think it’s a really important article)

 

10 Things Generation Rent Can Relate To

As I’m currently up late, thinking of ways to make some extra money quickly as I’ve spent everything on my rent this month, I thought I might as well upload a link to this article I wrote for The Metro last month.

10 Things Generation Rent Can Relate To

Since this article was published letting agent’s admin fees have actually been made illegal, just like they have been in Scotland for years. I’m was so excited by the news initially but I’m also a little bit worried about it. This isn’t just because I’m a moody cynical emo but also as I’m worried that in doing this without other laws in place too it may see unfair rent increases and other ways for letting agents to exploit renters.

I guess we’ll see eh?

See also: “So How Many Cameras Are On You?” 10 Mins on TV

What’s In My Gym Bag?

Rather than actually go to the gym and do a workout, I’ve decided to write a very self indulgent blog about just what my gym bag holds – cause everyone is dying to know what’s in my smelly backpack, aren’t they?

So, if you’re at all arsed, here’s what I actually do make it out of bed and to the treadmill.

The Bag gym-bag_burned

Yep, it’s a 99p special from Home & Bargain that looks just like the one’s you’d have at school. I’m not trying to be quriky; I was skint and desperately needed a replacement for my threadbare adidas tote. Although, I’m going to feel ridiculously smug when these are in Urban Outfitters selling for about twenty quid. I don’t need a big bag as my gym is literally 5 minutes away from my flat so i get showered at home and risk bumping into all my crushes and enemies on the walk home; sweating and glowing. Ming, aren’t I?

The Cigarettes

ciggies

Look, life is all about balance. I look to my main girl Gwyneth Paltrow in times like this. She allows herself one ciggie per week and so will I. The woman is in her forties and looks about 27 so I will treat Goop newsletters like the Holy Bible. When I’m already lightheaded from taking it too far on the rower while hungover and sweating out the previous night’s ale intake, I like to add to my buzz by getting some niccy rush on my way home.

(Dead by 30 I suspect)

The Water Bottle 
water>burned

I’ve lost count of the amount of fancy water bottles I’ve lost over the years; leaving them in the holder on the cross trainer or accidentally binning them on the walk back thinking it’s a disposable one (I was very light headed after spinning). My current bottle is a freebie from when I was at a Channel 4 Talent Day last year and it does the job. It also makes it look like I perhaps work for a national TV company when in reality I haven’t even got a job that can afford me a decent TV and instead watch 4OD on my laptop.

The Gym Gear

I’ve been a loyal adidas girl since the Christmas I broke my mother’s heart by only asking for trackies and trainers and confirming that my tomboy phase was sticking around for a while. However, without my mum paying for my sportswear these days, I’ve become more of a broke loyal adidas girl these days. Over the years I’ve found myself relying on gym wear from Matalan and Primark rather than exclusively donning the three stripes.

Here’s the thing though, if you’re a bit self conscious* on the treadmill at the best of times, the last thing you need to add to that is feeling like an imposter amongst all the gym regulars and worrying that your cheap running leggings are revealing your Primark neon thong to everyone else working out.

*how I describe my crippling anxiety and paranoia about my appearance. 

During the summer I splashed out on some Sunday Best leggings from Kate Hudson’s Fabletics website. Yep, that Kate Hudson – the actress and sometimes drinking pal of Tony Blair* has gone and created a line of activewear and you know what? Fair enough, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of her and not wanted to swap bodies with her – even when she was pregnant. She’s certainly a good advert for her business.

*still don’t understand this one but it’s 2016, anything goes it seems.

There’s a twist with Fabletics – it’s like Netflix for exercise junkies. You can become a VIP member, pay a monthly fee and reap the rewards and find yourself with a wardrobe stocked with quirky original gym clothes. If you find yourself in trainers more than heels, this is certainly a more suitable subscription to look into than say ASOS premier. 

The Trainers Women's Ride 9

I like running. I like cardio in general to be honest. I’m weird, I know. I guess I don’t feel like I’m actually burning fat unless I’m out of breath and dripping with sweat. Yes, I’m well aware that lifting weights is sometimes much better for weight loss but I’m much happier on the treadmill than I am bench pressing. Actually, my ideal location is running along the Albert Dock late at night; terrifying everyone that I’m going to trip and fall in the Mersey (or jump if I’m particularly hungover).

I’ve mentioned my trainers, Ride 9 Running shoes from Saucony , in previous blogs and I’m still loving them, months on. I never thought that what you wore on your feet made that much of a difference to be honest; I wasn’t exactly jogging in a pair of Converse but I hadn’t upgraded my trainees for a good couple of years before I was gifted these. A few runs in these babies and I realised how naive i’d been. Towards the end of a run, my feet are almost as fresh as when i first tied the laces – fewer blisters, better support, comfort and, most important of all, they look cute too.

The Supplements 

coll

When I made the decision to adopt a ridiculously annoying diet (Dairy Free Pescatarian Except For Now & Again At Barburrito or When Really Really Drunk) I got a lot of lectures about taking vitamins and supplements blah blah blah.

I’ve obviously stocked my cabinet up with all the usual suspects but also, some Pure-Col Collagen capsules that are perfect for regular gym goers and those looking to improve their skin and keep signs of ageing at bay. Collagen tablets are very much the new thing to know about I’ve been told.

Bonus – they’re vegan friendly so perfect for my pretentious lifestyle.

The Snacks 

snacks

Speaking of my diet, I of course carry some snacks on me at all times and huge tumblr points to me for getting on board with Chika’s vegan-friendly and GMO and gluten-free products. My personal favourite is the Sea Salt & Black Pepper Cashews.

They have a really cute back story and are currently running ‘Snack for Change’ which aims to increase child education across the world via people purchasing their products. Helping via eating delicious treats is my kind of charity work.

The Padlockpadlocl_burned

And finally, I don’t want all my valuables* getting robbed so I lock ’em all up with my boring old padlock – jazzed up with a keyring from my mate’s amazing online boutique.

*snacks

See also: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Exercise

A (predictably) late round up of October

Remember a couple of week’s ago I promised my round up of October would be up within days? Well, the lie detector results are back and let’s just say Jeremy Kyle would frothing at the mouth right now; calling me a liar and demanding I get a job. I don’t really have an excuse. I want to say I’ve been busy but I don’t think intense self loathing and making a string of bad life decisions counts as a valid activity unfortunately. Shame.

Luckily, I’ve still got an inflated ego and just enough narcism left  in me to believe that anyone truly cares what I got up to weeks and weeks ago so here it is, better late than never.

What I Wrote 

10 things generation rent can relate too

9 pros of having a long distance best friend

The shit that happens in your twenties 

5 reasons a female only gym is the future

The ones before The One

Here’s why you should date a Scouser 

What I did

In the midst of a Sunday afternoon of crippling anxiety, self loathing, regret and general hangover vibes I pledged that I wanted to start having more wholesome weekends; less drinking, more good old fashioned fun. Spoiler alert – I haven’t exactly worked out but I did manage one amazing sober(ish) day of activities throughout October in the form of breaking out of a locked room and vegan food. Doesn’t sound like the best way to spend a Sunday you cry? Hear me out.

Breakout Liverpool

I’ve started my fresh, hangover free Sunday tweeting that I was fresh and hangover free. What’s the point of not drinking yourself into a state on a Saturday night if you can’t be unbearably smug online the next day? After being so annoying on Twitter that half my followers probably muted me, I headed across town to meet Michael, Jenny and Lee to have a go at escaping one of the rooms at Breakout Liverpool.

If you’re unfamiliar with Breakout then just imagine Crystal Maze but without that creepy guy following you around giving snide, sarcastic ‘advice’. In teams of 2-5 you’re locked* in one of their various themed rooms with 60 minutes on the clock with whole hosts of clues and riddles you need to crack in order to get the key you need to make your big escape.

*Don’t worry fellow anxious types – there’s an emergency exit clearly visible.

As it was near Halloween and I’m a morbid little emo at the best of times, we opted for The Facility room (4/5 difficulty). The idea is you arrive at an unknown location for a once in a lifetime opportunity; a conference held by the critically acclaimed, Dr. Andrews.  What you don’t know, is that Dr. Andrews has gone mad, creating a string of tests that have gone disastrously wrong. He has brought you here for his final experiment. You have one hour to escape his maze of tricks and games, before a deadly virus kills you all.

Now obviously there is no actual threat to your life but some irritating dickhead started acting like breaking out really was a matter of life and death; bossing people around and actually saying at one point “Okay, you’ve had enough fun now – back to work” when someone dared to take a second off cracking codes and clues to have a laugh. The dickhead in question is me and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Jenny and Lee for turning into Monica Geller on speed and being the Himmler to Michael’s Hitler as we ran around trying to solve puzzles and find keys. What can I say – I believe that if you’re not taking fun, easy going games way too seriously then what’s the actual point of it all?

We managed to break out with twenty minutes left on the clock and guys, when the staff started praising us and saying it was one of the best escapes they’d seen all day it went straight to my head. I know deep down it’s their job to shower praise on their customers and make them feel good but I live for validation from strangers so I took it and run with it. Just look how pleased I look with myself on the picture! 

My finest achievement of 2016. Depressing but true.

My finest achievement of 2016. Depressing but true.

I’m absolutely sold on Breakout. It’s escapism, literally and metaphorically. For up to an hour (or 40 mins if you’re amazing like me and break out fast) your brain is distracted from all your weird thoughts and feelings and the only thing on your mind is cracking the bloody codes.

So far, so sober and feeling as good as I do after 10 drinks.

Las Iguanas 

When you think of Las Iguanas you think 241 cocktails in Liverpool One and the venue suggestion of where to go on your date by that lad you’ve been speaking to on Tinder, don’t you? You don’t ever think ‘Wow, I bet they have an extensive, varied and tasty separate menu exclusively for vegans and vegetarians” do you? Well, you should because they do and it’s pretty impressive. Yep, with a dining party that consisted of a vegan, a dairy free pescartian who slips up now and again when drunk/at Barburrito and two lads who’ll do as they’re told, we made our post Breakout high selves to Las Iguanas to see how their menu caters to the pretentious diners in the world.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never eaten at Las Iguanas before. Normally, I’m in there, abusing the cheap delicious cocktails and adopting the mentality ‘eating’s cheating’ but I am so glad I finally stopped being a low-key functioning alcoholic and got some scran for once. Guys, this place is a utopia for vegans and veggies. How many times have you been to a restaurant and the non meat option (singular, not plural in most cases) has been an after thought; a boring risotto or a bland bean burger more often than not. Las Iguanas don’t subscribe to this nonsense though – with a whole menu dedicated to those who swerve meat and dairy we had plenty to choose from. 

Just look at all that glorious scene! We had Nachos, Taco Planks, Halloumi Churrasaco Skewers Fiesta Ensalada and my personal fav, Moqueca De Palmitos  (Butternut squash, palm hearts & spinach in a creamy coconut curry with charred red peppers, garlic & fresh tomatoes. With spring onion rice, sweet plantain, pico de gallo & a coconut farofa to sprinkle) which you would have no idea was vegan. I know that sounds like such a smug, wanky vegan thing to say (and I’m not even vegan, just smug and wanky) but it’s true.

And of course, we got a few cocktails too. Look, I know I was meant to be having a Sober Sunday but when they’re 241 it’s cheaper to neck a few Dark & Stormy mixes than it is to order a Diet Coke. Probably. Maybe. I don’t know but I’m sticking to my theory as my way of defending my love of alcohol.

As we left I noticed a sign on the door that stated that all tips go direct to the staff. No little nasty fees taken off like the rats at Pizza Express and other places do. Is right, Las Iguanas you babes. Always nice to know you’ve just eaten in a venue that doesn’t take advantage of their staff like little Tories.

The next time a boy asks me on a date to Las Iguanas I won’t turn my nose up but instead be excited to order from my own special menu and bore him about the importance of tipping. 

What articles I’ve been reading 

Letting fee are awful, and Philip Hammond is right to ban them  I imagined my old letting agents having breakdowns at the news today in the office and lads, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty turned on.

Liverpool Empire: White Christmas Review  Michael is my hilarious mate and I hate the fact he’s funnier than me so this might be the first and last time I link his work as i’m petty and bitter.

Documenting Trump’s abuse of women A nice cheery read for you all.

America, We’ve been there and here’s how to cope over the next few days About that dick Trump again but at least time it’s a funny piece

Rating exactly how Yer Da the first episode of The Grand Tour is  LOL

The BBC is doing the far right’s work for it Quick reminder that it’s not ‘Alt Right’, it’s ‘Neo Nazi’

What to do if you can’t afford a therapist? Cause being broke and depressed is my entire brand, after all.

“I was so embarrassed I cried” – Do parents share too much online? Cba to read? Take my word for it, they do.

Every Italian will receive 500 euros to spend on books on their 18th birthday I just think this is WONDERFUL and wanted to put a happy story amongst the misery I’m linking you all too.

I stopped wearing a poppy when it no longer meant ‘never again’ Another political article – boring bitch, aren’t i?

There is nothing pretentious about being a vegan But it’s probably a bit pretentious to be a ‘Dairy free pescatarian who slips up at Barburrito every two weeks” like my good self. At least I know I’m a dickhead eh?

13 little things anxiety sufferers should know Worrying that I don’t do enough to combat my anxiety problems is my latest worry.

I am not Daniel Blake but how can I help?  More on this film later.

Why Gary Lineker, Lily Allen and you shouldn’t comment Wouldn’t be massively surprised if Gary is a contender for next Labour leader tbh. 2016 has taught us anything is possible.

Social Menopause: Have you gone through the change yet? In a classic me move, I read this while having an existential crisis on a Sunday, hungover.

Why flexible working makes me happier? And I read this one while ‘working’ at home (aka eating cereal out of a cup and tweeting)

My mother’s last receipt Turns out the girl who played Matilda is a pretty amazing writer these days.

What I’ve been listening too 

My Dad Wrote A Porno I’m very late to the party on this one; even if this post had gone out when it should have done I would have been weeks behind everyone. I was sceptical of Podcasts; mainly because everyone recommended Serial to me but I kept falling asleep after the first ten minutes each time I tried to listen to it and just gave up in the end and felt left out when everyone was droning on about it. I don’t need to describe My Dad Wrote A Porno to you, you’re probably already know all about it. Christ, even my mum probably does. It’s good, isn’t it? I would like more Podcast recommendations like this one please.

November’s round up should be up around mid 2017. 

I’m kidding. At least, I hope I am. 

See also: The September Issue 

 

 

 

The September Issue

Before anyone says anything, I am well aware that today it is November 1st and September was absolutely ages ago but you know what, this has been sitting in my drafts for weeks now and I’m going to publish it because otherwise it will wind me up and I’ll probably still think about how I never got round to finishing this blog off at 3am one night in 2054.

So what’s the deal with this? Well, a few months ago I signed up to Emma Gannon’s newsletter and got all inspired. Every Sunday I get an email from her packed with cool articles, links to podcasts, videos and interesting pieces of writing and I realised that doing something similar could be a really cool way for me to start blogging regularly. Because another lifestyle blogger is what the world is crying out for right now, I know, but seeing as I have a blog I should actually have a go at yano, blogging.

Given that I’m a tad late with this one, and my memory is hazy, it seems a bit pointless to bore you all with recommendations of articles to read that are now so old they’re now in history books so we’ll try again next time. I realise I have done the online equivalent of starting a long story then getting bored of telling it halfway through and drifting off topic.

October’s round up (which I will post this week – I SWEAR!) will be better; I’ll pack it with fun stuff I actually did, reading recommendations, funny podcasts I’m enjoying, events I’m planning to attend and other stuff I feel people will be interested in as I’m a massive narcissist. If you haven’t been put off too much by this rambling post, hit subscribe and you’ll get an email when I promptly publish my next one.

So, that was my September Issue – I don’t think Vogue has anything to worry about just yet.

 

“So how many cameras are actually on you?” Ten Mins On TV

“Can you pull over mate, I think I’m going to be sick!”

It’s 5.55pm on a week night and I’m in a taxi from town to Walton in the midst of rush hour traffic and a combination of crippling anxiety and travel sickness has seen me almost vomit at the side of the road with quite an audience watching. I’m going to miss my debut appearance on television and I’m praying that anyone I know will miss it too. 

I’ll start from the beginning…

It’s my second day of FUNemployment, my catchy term for my current jobless status which I use to mask all the very valid fears I have about not having a regular source of income. I manage to get up early (10am is very early when you’re out of work, FYI) and head over to the gym as I’m determined not becoming too hideously lazy these days. While sweating away on the cross trainer I get a call from Granada Reports. Earlier that morning I had put myself forward, via the fantastic Generation Rent organisation, to speak to someone in the media about the renting and general housing crisis in the UK at the moment. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll be only too aware of my views about the matter. If you don’t then spoiler alert, I hate letting agents. Basically, if I saw one on fire and had a bottle of water, I’d put them out, sure, but only after they’d paid £250 to cover any ‘Administration Costs’.

I hadn’t really given much thought to all this when I put myself forward; I assumed it would be print media. I’m very happy to be a rent a gob just so long as no one actually sees my gob. With my face bright red from a workout, I’m on the phone agreeing to be filmed for Granada Reports, ITV’s North West news show, and they will be at my flat within the next couple of hours.

Over the next two hours the following happened:

  1. I had a minor panic attack about the thought of appearing on TV looking fat.
  2. I had my friend come half way across town to do my make-up as I still haven’t mastered how to apply foundation without getting an orange tide line. She was amazing. I suggest you all get yourself a friend who can contour and calm you at the same time.
  3. I didn’t shower. They can’t smell you on TV after all.
  4. I laughed when the Manchester journalist referred to my flat as a gaff constantly.
  5. I constantly had to move mess around the flat depending on where they were filming. Dirty dishes ending up on my bedroom floor at one point.
  6. I rambled on for quite a while about how this government has woefully let down a generation of working class people and have no intention of solving the housing crisis. If I had a quid for every time i managed to get a sly dig at Tories into any topic whatsoever, I’d have enough money to be a Buy to Let landlord.
  7. I cringed as they filmed me ‘naturally’ walking into my building about 10 times.

And then they left.

And then I panicked.

In a few hours I’d be on national (ish) TV and I was horrified at the possibility of looking fat on TV for all to see. While I should have been excited and proud of myself, I was, yet again, obsessing and worrying about my body. I’m aware how self indulgent and narcissistic all my anxiety about my weight and appearance is and I hate every time I let it stop me getting on with life or completing normal tasks but I can’t help it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cancelled plans, sometimes important ones, because I’ve ‘felt fat’. There has been so many occasions where I’m having a conversation with someone and I lose track of what they’re saying because I’ve seen their gaze move and I’ve convinced myself they’ve spotted a disgusting ‘fat’ part of my body and are revolted by me. Calling me fat is the worst and most hurtful thing you could ever say to me and I’m ashamed of that. I constantly bang on about body confidence and argue with Katie Hopkins types who think fat shaming and bullying people as ‘telling it as it is’ yet I’d rather be told my work is rubbish, or that I have a horrible personality, than I would be called fat. As much as I’d love to own a flat or house, I can’t be sure that if for some random magical reason I had the choice between being gifted some property or a guarantee i could be a skinny size 6 the rest of my life that I wouldn’t take the option of being slim for the rest of my days. Dickhead, aren’t i?

Friends Camera

So yeah, even now, rather than writing up a piece that would tie in with my appearance on TV; discussing my experiences renting, what I think needs to be done to tackle the housing crisis and why I think letting agents can’t actually be human beings, I’m here waffling on about my weight and body insecurities, yet again. Worse thing is, all the clothes I was wearing when being filmed that day were a size 10 so I know I’m being ridiculous. I missed out on watching myself on TV with my friends and family because I spent all day being a weirdo saying i’d like to be alone and waited until ten minutes before it aired to get a taxi to my mate’s house. It took me a few bottles of wine before I could watch it on catch up and even now, I still haven’t got to the point where I can view it without feeling disgusted with myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this, I’ve got form. Back in October 2015 I was so excited to have a double page spread in Grazia magazine but it involved having a photoshoot featuring yours truly. Instead of buzzing about being pampered on a set and getting some professional photographs taken, I burnt everyone’s head out worrying that I was going to look fat and almost didn’t buy a copy of the magazine the day it came out. Like I said, dickhead aren’t i?

So I’m going to pledge two things:

  1. I’m going to work on my body image issues as hard as I work at going to the gym
  2. I will get round to writing a piece about renting and in the housing crisis

In the meantime, here’s where you can watch me looking like a huge whale* on TV if you so wish and a few links to some pieces that sum up the experiences of being a private tennent in the midst of a renting crisis:

WATCH: Warning That Greater Manchester Could Face a ‘London-Like’ Housing Crisis  (It’s me!!)

Make Renting Fair: Why We’re Calling For The End of Letting Agent Fees

Generation Rent

“Landlords Are Stressed About School Fees” and Other Gems From The Worst Housing Press Release Ever Sent

And, if like me, you’re part of Generation Rent, here’s a piece that cheered me up:

The Pros Of Renting

*I promise that’s the last self depreciating gag about my body. 

See also: Daily Mirror: Shopkeeper Attacked Online Over ‘Tory Tax’